BOOK REVIEW | The judicial crisis of the mid-1980s started with the sacking of the then chief justice, Salleh Abas. This was followed by an exposé in 2000 by Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan on another chief justice, Eusoff Chin and his family, who had been holidaying with lawyer VK Lingam.
This had sent shockwaves in the fraternity and even a royal commission of inquiry failed to restore the then much-needed confidence in the judiciary. Moreover, there were other claimed incidents of “interference” - which did not come into the public domain.
Mahadev Shankar, who was then a High Court judge based in Johor Bahru, was drawn unwittingly - not as a player but as a witness - to this shameful episode in the history of the judiciary by a strange turn of events.
In his book, ‘Summum Bonum (The Ultimate Good)’, Shankar provides intricate details of how he and another Kuala High Court judge were summoned to the then chief justice Abdul Hamid Omar’s office in Kuala Lumpur.
“When the chief justice arrived, he told me, peremptorily, that I was to leave...